Friday, August 26, 2016


I keep running into arguments like this:
Stop Using the Term “Alt-Right’!

... The term itself ... was allegedly coined by Richard B. Spencer, who founded the website Alternative Right in 2010.

... The term “alt-right” is nothing more than a clever marketing tool by a white supremacist activist, who knows that his ideology is considered unacceptable in today’s society. Hence, he came up with a term that sounds acceptable to the conservative mainstream. For years it had little to no effect until uncritical and uninformed journalists did what he never could: mainstream his term.

And this:

But we don't need to worry, especially after yesterday. A large percentage of Americans just learned about the alt-right this week -- and what they learned, from Hillary Clinton's speech and from the many media attempts to explain the term, was that alt-rightists are hate-spewing racist scum. And alt-rightists themselves aren't even trying to pretend otherwise, because they're under the impression that if they proclaim to the world that they believe whites are superior to non-whites and all good things on earth flow from ethnic Europeans, while festooning their online communications with allusions to gas chambers and attacks on non-whites as subhumans, the world, or at least the white world, will beat a path to their door.

No one is using the term "alt-right" and saying, "No, these people are just conventional conservatives who believe in small government and constitutionalism." The link between racism and the alt-right is made every time the term is used. So that's how it's imprinting itself on our brains.

I'm reminded of the Fox News campaign to replace the term "suicide bomber" with "homicide bomber." What was the point? Stories about suicide bombers tell us what suicide bombers do, and it's horrifying. We don't need a stronger term. If you're exposed to such stories\, in your mind the term "suicide bomber" will always stand for something appalling.

The same thing is happening with "alt-right." It's not a benign term -- not given what we know about alt-rightists, and what they proudly tell us about themselves.


Victor said...

"...was that alt-rightists are hate-spewing racist scum."

Yes, but that's their appeal to a lot of people. The kind of people who worship t-RUMP.

After yesterday, it's clear to me that there'll be no way t-RUMP will debate Hillary.
She got under his skin, and deep into his bones, with that speech.

Erik C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik C. said...

"After yesterday, it's clear to me that there'll be no way t-RUMP will debate Hillary. She got under his skin, and deep into his bones, with that speech."

Wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't show up, but as far whether he really will bail or not, I'm from Missouri on this. It's still possible he might show up and if he does, it'll be quite a sight to see (Which I likely will pass on viewing).

Lenoxus said...

Thanks for saying this. I've felt that this argument is like saying "Nazi is a euphemism because the name has nothing to do with the Aryan-suprmacist antisemtism at the core of the ideology. They're not 'Nazis', they're just evil, don't sugarcoat them". I kind of get the concern, but I don't believe in the risk of the alt-right becoming legitimate.

Also, it's a mistake to replace a group's self-label with a technically correct but broader label, because that hurts our own ability to discuss and dissect the group itself. "Intelligent design" is indeed a form of creationism, but if we replaced the term "intelligent design" with "creationism" at every turn, then we're stuck when debating the "creationist" who concedes the common descent of all life. Likewise, the alt-right loves to soften itself with notions like "All we want is a safe homeland for whites", which is distinct from something like "Kill all non-whites!" (not that an alt-rightist would shed any tears if it happened). So ironically, the average American who doesn't know all these details could be more likely hoodwinked by the movement if we refuse to distinguish its flavor of bigotry from its parent bigotry.

Knight of Nothing said...

Agreed! I think using the term is fine. It removes the 'Godwin' problem. Whereas other terms ('nazi', 'racist,' 'misogynist', 'nativist') are fraught -- they cannot proclaim to be these in polite company without raising eyebrows -- they proudly announce they are alt-right. HRC's speech simply introduced the larger public to the term with some basic research and context. It will quickly soil the term, while linking Trump inextricably to it through his campaign manager. It pleases me.

Jeff Ryan said...

This is merely the means by which these cowards try to evade identification.

In the '90s I was a prosecutor (the '80s, too!), and I dealt with these balls of phlegm on a consistent basis. They were especially prevalent here in the West, where I have found myself for longer than I'd planned.

And they really adhere to only one belief system. Whether they call themselves Alt-Right, Sovereign Citizens, Posse Comitatus, Range Warriors, Militiamen, Anti-Taxers, they follow only one true belief. Oh, they throw up various anti-historical, fantasy-based foundations for their beliefs, but it still always comes down, to one thing in the end: Every fucking thing that has ever gone wrong, starting with Adam, Eve and the Serpent, is the fault of the Jews.

They surely loathe blacks, make no mistake. And they can justify the persecution and murder of Mexicans, Hispanics, whatever. Such hatreds are often the gateway drug, if you will, for new recruits. But it always, always comes down to the filthy Jew.

I have followed these murderers for many years. When, recovering from surgery, I hobbled out and got myself settled on the sofa, turned on the TV, and saw that "maybe it was a gas leak," "maybe it was Moslem extremists" that were responsible for the still-smouldering ruins of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, I knew immediately who had done it.

This is an ancient evil. "Alt-Right" is just the name it takes now. But it is no different from the Final Solution or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And it must be fought, and defeated, over and over.

They never give up. Neither can we.

Paul Canning said...

BBC has a long piece on alt-right, They - and I know this will shock you - date it back to 2008.

KenRight said...

Jeff Ryan is a simpleton.
Parts of the Alt Right, like Jared Taylor, accept Jews as White.
Check out the SPLC report on the movement.
This fact alone, although I disagree with Taylor accepting pro-Zionists
in any "white movement" designed to put America First, tells me Jack Ryan is filled with hate so profuse he makes blanket statements involving
a disparate movement. Sovereign Citizen near-anarchists are national socialists?
The movement is the same as the Protocols when some individuals in the movement do not take the Protocols as historical fact?
If I didn't know Jack Ryan I would assume his ideology is anti-anti-semitism uber alles. And I don't know him.
The Lobby certainly thanks the Jack Ryans of America for their service.
Oh, yes "ancient evil"...any reaction on the part of the Host for the past 2000 years other than immediate servitude is "evil."

This fine work by a Jewish professor gives the lie to that one.

Ten Bears said...

Ken, you are so predictable. A Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu or the Politics of Machiavelli in the Nineteenth Century Contemporary was penned initially anonymously by French lawyer Maurice Joly in 1864 as a satire of Napoleon III. Msr Joly spent a year and a half at the Bastille prison for his… indiscretion. Largely forgotten, the book was rewritten to include anti-Jewish propaganda and republished in 1897 as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion by the leaders of the early Jew/Christian Zionist lobby to stir up anti-Jewish hostilities in its push for the ultimately successful invasion and occupation of Palestine. They are in essence a fabrication.

There are no Protocols of Zion.

Jeff Ryan said...


The only "Jack Ryan" I'm familiar with is the hero of some Tom Clancy novels. Clancy being a shitty writer (followed by largely shitty readers), I haven't followed this fictional character's exploits, though I do know Clancy thought that Harrison Ford was a horrible choice to play the character in movies. Which tells anyone all they need to know about Clancy. (If anyone is in any doubt, simply read the first 30 pages of The Hunt for Red October. It makes mistranslated Chinese instruction manuals seem downright Shakespearean by comparison.)

If I do happen to meet anyone named Jack Ryan in my travels, though, I'll be sure to pass on your thoughts, if so lordly a descriptor can be applied to your scribblings.

KenRight said...

I guess Bear was hibernating while reading. I said many in the Alt Right movement did not take the Protocols literally. But you cannot blame conspiracy theories for proliferating in the US when the entire Mideast save Israel seems to be victimized by American interventions in the recent past. But perhaps Mearsheimer and Walt are just poetic allegorists for a chapter here and there.

Can anyone similarly fault 9-11-2001 Truthers when Condi Rice can get away with lying in testimony that there was no intelligence which predicted airplanes could be used as projectiles in jihad attacks, and thus was herself as the whole crew of Elitists being exempt from harsh punishment for criminal negligence?

Dark Avenger said...

if some in the movement don't take them literally, then there are some who do, Ken.